A group of Mississippi hunters took a monstrous 13-foot, 2-inch alligator weighing nearly 800 pounds. The five men spent hours trying to reel in the big predator from the Yazoo River on August 29th.
“We were on the Yazoo River north of Redwood,” said first-time hunter Ty Powell. “We probably saw 15 or 20 on the way up, but we had that spot marked and were headed there.”
Powell was one of just 920 hunters issued an alligator tag for this season. Thousands of prospective hunters apply for the tags every year. “They told me to go buy a lottery ticket because I was the luckiest man in Mississippi that day,” said Powell.
His luck was just picking up. Along with Kent Britton of Poplar Creek, Eli Frierson of Starkville, Adam and Bubba Steen of Ethel, Ty Powell, from Columbia, would catch a behemoth.
“We had known about this alligator a month before,” said Britton. “We had him pinned on our phones along with another alligator.”
Members of the crew spotted an alligator estimated to be at least 12 feet long and around 500 pounds, so the team started there. Seeing nothing but smaller alligators, they began to travel upriver in two boats in hopes of spotting their prize.
“When we got back down there, there was another set of eyes,” said Powell. One of the hunters managed to hook the alligator and handed his rod and reel to Powell.
The line snapped when the gator swam around a log. “It’s a little bit of helplessness,” Powell said. “You don’t know if you’re going to get another chance at him. When you feel that line loosen up real quick, it’s an ‘Oh, no’ feeling.”
Still, the hunters pressed on, and got their second chance.
“He popped up about 30 to 40 yards between us,” Britton said. “Me and Eli hooked him at the same time from two different vessels. As soon as I hooked him, we got the boats together and I passed my pole to Ty so they could fight him from the same boat. He popped up 20 minutes later and I got another line on him.”
The huge alligator put up some fight, with their gear slowly falling apart in the process. They had been wrestling with the gator for about three hours. Toward the end they only had one of their three fishing poles in fully working order, but they persisted.
“Just to get him from the side of the boat into the boat took all five of us about 30 minutes,” Powell said. “I think we floated a mile or two down the river trying to catch our breath after that.”
It became clear, fast, that this was not the same alligator they spotted earlier. “We were all in shock,” said Powell. “He was also missing part of his tail. I know 13-2 is huge, but at one time he was bigger than that.”
“We were off about 300 pounds and six inches,” said Britton. “The 13-2 was missing six inches of tail, if not more.”
“I’m still excited and shaking about it,” Powell said. “This is the first time I’ve put in for alligator tags or even thought about it and something happens like this. It was the hunt of a lifetime. These four guys that were with me, I can’t thank them enough for helping me get that gator. I really need to go buy that lottery ticket.”
Powell said they plan to use the entire animal, hide, claws, meat and all.